9 April 2015

Two great comms conferences – we share the best bits

SMiLE London – Social Media in large enterprises plus the BOC Internal Communications conference.

Fear not if you missed these great conferences, we share the best bits.

The Social Media in the Large Enterprise (SMiLE) conference is a great place for finding out the latest digital trends in employee engagement. Because, love it or hate it, social media now forms an important part of almost every communicator’s toolkit. In fact, when it comes to trends, today’s intranets are digital workspaces where employees go to get their job done.

BOC Internal communications conference was also a great event hearing the latest employee engagement insight from Virgin Trains,London Underground and Zurich.

So, we’ve put together two reports of all the trends, stories, tips and quotes we learned from both conferences…download the reports here or check out some of the highlights below.

Download Synergy’s Best Bits pdf – SMiLE Social Media in Large Enterprises Conference notes

Download Synergy’s Best Bits pdf – BOC Internal Communications Conference notes

SMiLE Social Media in Large Enterprises Conference

Trend watch – hot topics from the floor

Let’s be specific:

Social media tools for employee engagement are becoming more sophisticated and specific, as people seek specialised apps for particular groups of employees.

On the move:

Mobile workforces are driving the need for social media apps. And as they continue to expand, so too does the growth in social networks.

Digital re-thinking:

Intranets are old school. Today’s business are all about the ‘digital workspace’ where you get your job done.

Listen up:

The biggest challenges in getting your employees to adopt social media are mindset, engagement and, in turn, change.

Big brother:

ESNs are being used for more specific purposes now, including employee monitoring. So while working may be becoming more flexible, you just might start clocking in again!

Business first:

Intranets/digital work spaces need to be led by the needs of your business and employees, not by IT, particularly as things move into the cloud.

Future focus:

More companies are going online to get employees to think up great new ideas that can drive / support R&D and innovations.

 Stats and facts:

• 80% of companies now use social media tools (source: SMiLE survey).

• Yammer, SharePoint, Zimbra and Jive are the most popular internal comms platforms. (Source: 451 research)


• Optimally engaged employees are 120% more likely to generate innovation and 150% more likely to demonstrate customer advocacy (Source: IBM presentation)

• Employees are now being treated as consumers (segmentation, UX etc). It pays to know your internal audiences just like you know your external ones.

Focus us…. getting employees online (and coming back for more!)

Social media tools won’t do you much good if your people won’t use them. But culture change can be hard work, so the experts at SMiLE had plenty of advice for engaging your employees.

Step 1: Development

When you’re developing your tool, think about how you’re going to encourage people to use it.

1. Try tempting them in with something of interest or using the tool for something they can’t get anywhere else. At Coca Cola, they use their HR (payslips etc) as the ‘chocolate bar’ to push people to visit their platform.

2. Try using external feeds so that your employees can find everything in one place.

3. Short, engaging videos can help distill your complex messages into fun, engaging clips.

Step 2: Getting feedback

1. Want to run a pilot? Instead of using a wide spread of employees, choose a small, specific group like a project team to get a better sense of what works and how much people will use it.

3. Make sure your newsletters work for users. Get feedback, review analytics and respond.

Step 3: Launch

1. Want to make your ESN visible, effective and influential? Then you need your Exec team on board. Get them to commit to being social.

2. Spend time at launch phase, don’t just switch on and expect people to land!

Step 4: Training

While some employees might hate the digital world, others will be technical wizards. These differences are worth remembering. Quick user guides, webinars and top tips are all important for roll-out.

Step 5: Keep developing

It’s tempting to cascade information and training to managers, but think about using a ‘water wheel’ instead: cascade out, get feedback and respond.

BOC Internal Comms Conference

From the Red Arrows to Virgin, there was no shortage of fantastic employee brand engagement examples. There was plenty to get revved up for today’s challenges including…

Talking about…the role of internal comms

Lucy Adams, former HR Director at the BBC, gave a great explanation of how the BBC used lessons learned from its best leaders to improve its leadership capabilities across the organisation.

Talking about…brand engagement planning

Drew McMillan, Head of Internal Communications at Virgin Trains, talked about the importance of employee profiling in the way you traditionally profile your customers and why you shouldn’t deny what’s in your company’s DNA.

Talking about…brand engagement ideas

Katharina Auer, Head of Employee and Exec Comms at Zurich, explained why giving your employees integrated plans helps them join the dots and strengthens your brand.

Talking about…leadership best practice

Jas Hawker from the Red Arrows presented on the importance of teamwork and using open, honest, ‘rankless’ debriefs to analyse recent work is what it takes to become a high-performing team/organisation.

Talking about… how to improve employee engagement

Heather Wagoner and Paul Facer from Transport for London shared their tips for reaching out to remote audiences – they key? Using digital channels you see used in consumer marketing activities and the power of video.

Talking about… internal communications channels

Tony Cook from Adidas gave us a lowdown on how they used the results of their employee engagement survey plus more in-depth research with a test audience group to connect with their technologically disconnected retail people.The answer, a cool app.

“What I loved about this internal communications conference was the sheer energy in the room – there was a real buzz. The idea of employee profiling is really growing and goes hand-in-hand with employee brand engagement – it’s about tailoring your messages and responding to demand, just like you do with your consumers.” Gemma McGrattan, Synergy

Find out more

For more from the BOC Internal Communications Conference, take a look at the website: http://boc-uk.com/2015/03/ic-conference-2015-live/

Want to read more?Download the complete set of conference notes by clicking here.

For more communications inspiration, resources and guides, visit our internal communications hub.

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